Most of us are kept busy enjoying or enduring our everyday lives, too frantic to hear the quiet inner voice that speaks of another place, another time. But for a minority of people, details of a previous existence encroach on the present, making a strong case for the principles of reincarnation.
Several major faiths, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and others give credence to life after death. Buddhists have a similar but not identical philosophy of re-birth, although Tibetan Buddhists invest heavily in the idea of reincarnation in order to identify legitimate heirs to the role of Dalai Lama.
Search for the Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso, today’s Dalai Lama, is believed to be the reincarnation of his predecessor. Indeed, he was born in the same year his predecessor died (1935), to a peasant family in north-eastern Tibet. A Buddhist dignitary trying to divine the identity of the new Dalai Lama had a vision in which he saw a monastery. Aides were given detailed descriptions of the monastery and dispatched across the region to find it. They discovered one that fitted the description in Taktser. There they encountered a two-year-old boy who demanded the rosary being worn by one of the party that had once belonged to the deceased Dalai Lama. When he correctly identified the men in the deputation by name and rank, it was deemed that he was the embodiment of the Dalai Lama. He was finally enthroned in 1940.
There is a growing body of evidence in the West to say that earthly life after death is a reality. Two methods have been used to gather examples of past lives: regression through hypnosis in adults and the spontaneous recollections of young children, whose previous lives remain fresh in their memories.
Psychologist Helen Wambach carried out a ten-year survey of past-life recollections among 1,088 subjects. With the exception of only eleven people, the descriptions given about minute details of past lives, including kitchen utensils, clothing and footwear, were uncannily accurate. She found that the majority of the lives described were in the lower classes, reflecting the appropriate historical distribution. She also discovered that 49.4 per cent of the past lives were female and 50.6 per cent were male, reflecting the correct biological balance. Although she started out as a sceptic, Wambach became convinced by the evidence in front of her. In 1978 she declared: ‘I don’t believe in reincarnation — I know it!’
Among the celebrities of today are several who are convinced they have lived before. These include Sylvester Stallone, who thinks he has been here no less than four times in the past, and was on one occasion guillotined during the French Revolution. He also claims to have been a boxer who was killed by a knockout punch in the 1930s. Actor Martin Sheen talked of being a cruel US cavalry soldier who was trampled to death by a horse. Today he has a loathing of horses, which might be linked to his past life experiences. Singer Englebert Humperdinck thought he once ruled the Roman Empire, while pop goddess Tina Turner has been told she is a reincarnation of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut. Shirley MacLaine also claims numerous past lives, among them a Moorish girl living along a pilgrim trail in Spain. Under hypnosis, movie star Glenn Ford was able to speak fluent French, since one of his past lives was spent as a French cavalryman in the reign of Louis XIV.
This is an extract from the The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal by Rupert Matthews .